Women in multinationals: 25% in India, 43% in China

Women in multinationals: 25% in India, 43% in China

Bangalore: The percentage of women in multinational companies in India is just 25% compared with 42.9% in China, a study has found.

In the four countries where the Gender Diversity Benchmark for Asia study was done, the proportion of women in multinationals across junior, middle and senior management levels was the lowest in India. The proportion of women employees in Japan and Singapore is 33.8% and 43.8%, respectively.

The study—conducted by Diversity and Inclusion in Asia Network, a part of the Hong Kong-based non-profit Community Business—had a small sample size of 11 multinational firms, including Microsoft Corp., Cisco Systems Inc. and Standard Chartered Plc. It was presented at a conference on Wednesday.

Women’s participation in the organized workforce in India is lower than in the other countries due to historic, traditional and cultural reasons, says Subash A.K. Rao, director of human resources at Cisco’s India arm. “They (the other countries) have had their women participate in the organized workforce earlier than us (Indians). It is a journey... and we are only going up."

In India, the percentage of women in junior management in the 11 multinational firms surveyed is at least 30, but drops to less than 10 at the senior level.

Women exiting from companies due to family pressure is one of the biggest problems, says Jessie Paul, chief marketing officer and a member of the diversity council at Wipro Technologies Ltd, the global arm of India’s third largest software firm by revenues. “It is not so easy to come back...after, like, five years. The other people (whom you worked with) would have reached a certain place."

Though the network’s study was restricted to multinational corporations, Paul says the numbers are reflective of Indian software companies as well. “Twenty per cent of the workforce are women at Wipro," says Paul.


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